In the week leading up to their first match at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, the members of the Brazil squad spoke a lot about the sense of calm and composure that prevailed in the camp. As soon as they stepped out on to the pitch, however, Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men found their patience and resolve severely tested by a spirited Croatia side, and none of them more so than Marcelo. Though A Seleçao would ultimately recover to claim the three points, the Real Madrid fullback endured a stern examination of his character in the opening stages of the game.
Marcelo’s travails came about in the 11th minute of the game, when Croatia striker Nikica Jelavic attempted to force Ivica Olic’s cross home only to deflect it into the path of the unwitting defender, who had little time to react and ended up turning the ball into his own net – the first such goal that Brazil have ever conceded in the world finals.
As if the thought of putting through his own net in the opening match of a tournament that his country is hosting were not enough for the unfortunate Marcelo to deal with, there was also the fact that the game was being played in Sao Paulo, a city whose supporters are known for being especially hard to please. Given the stakes, then, just how would the player react?
Answering that question in conversation with FIFA.com, Marcelo said: “The first thing I thought was just to stay calm and not make it worse for the team. If I’d let my head drop, I might have ended up making life even more difficult for us. That was the first thing I had to make sure I didn’t do.”
That measured reaction showed the maturity of a player who once found it much harder to keep his cool. In recent seasons, however, he has cut a composed and unruffled figure for his club side Real Madrid, and was one of the keys to their comeback win in the recent UEFA Champions League final… see more